Palestinians threaten violence in response to Trump peace plan

Palestinian Authority officials responded to news of the imminent release of the Trump peace plan by predicting dire consequences from the “Palestinian street.”

By World Israel News Staff and AP

Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), announced Saturday that “[a]ny deal, attempt or dictation that ignores [Israel’s current borders], will be recorded in history as the fraud of the century.”

Erekat’s issued his remarks, which were published by WAFA, in response to reports that U.S. President Donald Trump will release his Mideast peace plan in the coming days.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief rival Benny Gantz will travel to the White House this week to be briefed on the plan’s contents.

Erekat also referred to the plan as the “fraud of the century” in an apparent reference to its popular moniker, the “deal of the century.”

Palestinian officials quoted by the Jerusalem Post claimed that release of the plan would case a” wave of mass protests” in Judea and Samaria and Gaza. The officials referred to the peace deal as a “Zionist-American conspiracy,” calling for protests in response.

Jared Kushner, a Trump adviser and the president’s son-in-law, has been the architect for the plan for nearly three years. He has met with academics, lawmakers, former Mideast negotiators, Arab government officials and special interest groups to gather input and feedback.

People familiar with the administration’s thinking believe the release will have benefits even if it never gets Palestinian buy-in and ultimately fails. According to these people, the peace team believes that if Israeli officials are open to the plan and Arab nations do not outright reject it, the proposal could help improve broader Israeli-Arab relations.

For years, the prospect of improved ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors had been conditioned on a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the administration believes that a change in regional dynamics – due mainly to rising antipathy to Iran – will boost Israel’s standing with not only Egypt and Jordan, which already have peace deals with the Jewish state, but also Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf nations.

There have been signs of warming between Israel and the Gulf states, including both public displays and secret contacts, and the administration sees an opening for even greater cooperation after the plan is released, according to these people.

Trump, for his part, told reporters on Air Force One this week that “It’s a plan that really would work.” He said he spoke to the Palestinians “briefly,” without elaborating.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who has refused to hold elections for close to a decade, says that’s not true.

“There were no talks with the U.S. administration — neither briefly nor in detail,” he said. “The Palestinian position is clear and consistent in its rejection of Trump’s decisions regarding Jerusalem and other issues, and everything related to the rejected deal.”

Abbas instituted a full boycott of the Trump administration two years go after it recognized Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.

The White House has cut off nearly all U.S. aid to the Palestinians and closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington. In November, the Trump administration said it no longer views Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria as a violation of international law based on a comprehensive review of the legal issues carried out by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s staff.